Conversations with Compound gives unique insight into the rapidly changing world of New York City real estate.

Experts in the industry come from all corners of the globe and from all walks of life. This blog will give leaders of the industry the opportunity to share stories of their professional achievements, their proudest moments and why they love the city that never sleeps.

The current Dean of the Yale School of Architecture talks about old school New York and how her surroundings drive her passion for what she loves most.  

Where are you from?

I grew up in the Douglaston neighborhood in Queens, New York. Douglaston is located on the North Shore of Long Island, and is well-known for its historical society.  

Where do you live now?

I live in the Gracie Square area of the Upper East Side. I love that it's close to the East River and near a beautiful park with river views. It's a quiet neighborhood that feels a bit tucked away, which is nice in a city as hectic as New York. We're also currently designing a residential building nearby at 40 East End Avenue. It's an honor to be shaping a piece of my own neighborhood.  

40 East End Avenue New York, NY
How long have you worked in real estate?

I've been an architect for more than 30 years, which sounds like a long time, but architecture is a slow industry.  

What inspired you to work in real estate?

Growing up in Queens, I was fascinated by the different houses in the neighborhood - Tudors, colonials, Cape Cods, it was a very all-American place to grow up. I would draw the houses and make up stories about the lives of the people inside. Looking back, it was a bit voyeuristic.  

Who do you respect the most in the real estate industry?

Architecture and development are tough fields, especially in New York City. So I respect anyone who gets ahead while playing by the rules and treating people fairly.

What is your favorite thing about New York City real estate?

New York City never gets old. Certainly real estate is a big part of that. Many people come here; some stay here and some don't, but it's constantly changing.  

What is your favorite neighborhood?

As I mentioned, we're designing a new building at 40 East End, so that area has been top of mind for me lately. My husband and I raised our daughter in the neighborhood. It's a wonderful place for families.

What is your favorite restaurant?

I love to try new restaurants. It's part of the theater of urban living. But I particularly love finding a good neighborhood place. For me, that's Sandro's on the Upper East Side.  

What do you think is the next up-and-coming neighborhood?

I'll have to ask my daughter where her friends are moving!  

What is your favorite building in New York City?

Our office is in the Flatiron district with views of Madison Square Park and the Flatiron building. I love how the streets, the park, and the buildings come together here as an urban ensemble.  

What has been the most rewarding or craziest project you have been a part of?

We designed all the interior architecture for the units in 432 Park Avenue, which is the tallest residential building in the Western Hemisphere. The fact that our work is literally in the clouds is crazy, and amazing, to me.

Deborah Berke Partners distills complex considerations–environmental, social, and aesthetic–into meaningful architecture.